Friday, August 28, 2009

Beware of Dog

This is a couple of days old, but it's nice to see the Times getting back to serious investigative reporting, as they try to discern the roots of Mexican hot dogs, which are like American hot dogs except, being Mexican, they come wrapped in bacon and slathered with "a kitchen sink of taco truck condiments."

A Mexican-American take on the hot dog aesthetic was relatively late to arrive. In 1940s Arizona, tamales were known, at least among speakers of colloquial English, as Mexican hot dogs. By the 1950s, true tamales were gaining mainstream status stateside, and American hot dogs had, more than likely, jumped the gate into Sonora and Baja and elsewhere.

The date at which bacon-wrapped hot dogs became known as Mexican hot dogs is unclear. The mystery deepens when you factor in that Sonora, one of the states most often cited as ground zero for bacon-wrapped hot dogs, is a locus for cattle ranching, not pig farming.

From the southern side of the border, numerous Mexico City origin tales emanate, some tied to feeding crowds at wrestling matches in the 1950s, others to feeding skyscraper construction workers during the same decade. (Daniel Contreras, owner of El Güero Canelo, cites a similar time frame, and tells just as plausible a story, but sets the action in his home state of Sonora, where a man he knew as Don Pancho worked the streets.)

But of course since anything good can only have originated in America, the conclusion is that this 1953 Oscar Mayer advertisement is the Mexican hot dog's Book of Genesis.

We really have no opinion on this. Just wanted to do a post so we could pass along the excellent factoid that these are called "danger dogs" in LA.

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